Give thanks in all circumstances, not just on good days!

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I believe that parents can begin even in the womb to establish God’s Word in their children (From the Womb to the Tomb).  We all hope to have a preventative role with our children rather than a recovery role. But there are no guarantees that they will make all the right choices even when we have laid a firm foundation in the Lord.  We just have to be there to pick them up when they fall (no matter what age they are) and continue to love, pray for, and encourage them in the Way they should go.

Parenting is difficult, demanding, and at times discouraging when all our hard work seems less than enough to guard our children from making detrimental choices. We get tired, disheartened, and disgruntled with the Lord at times.  But God continues to love us and to teach us through it all.

A few weeks ago my friend Lisa shared with me briefly how God is leading her in this journey.  I asked her  to share some of her story in hopes that other moms will be encouraged.

Recently I’ve read the book Power in Praise and it has really changed the way I view my circumstances.  You see, I have two children who have been caught up in addiction for many years, and I have begged and begged my Lord to remove this from their lives.  I’ve also spent a lot of time grumbling and murmuring and feeling sorry for myself.  But never once have I thanked Him for it. 

One afternoon reading and having my quiet time, it hit me like a bolt of lightening –  what if we’ve been stuck in this valley not because of the addiction, but because of me!!  That’s why the Israelites wondered for 40 years.

Today I choose to thank God for the addiction and for the wonderful men my boys will become because of it.  I also thank Him for the growth my husband and I have already experienced.  

1Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances, not just on good days!

On a side note, one son has three months clean and the other son continues to keep getting back up! YAY GOD!”

Lisa would be glad to talk with anyone going through similar problems with their children.  You can contact her at: lisa.giddens@yahoo.com  We must encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

If you want to read more words of encouragement, check out the other blog posts on this site for hurting parents:  http://www.trainupthechild.org/?s=help+for+Hurting+Parents

There was a time when Billy and Ruth Graham were hurting parents because of their son Franklin.  God brought them and Franklin through the trying years and we have seen Franklin become such a man of God, just like his dad. Check out his autobiography Rebel With A Cause.

Parents, be encouraged, thank the Lord for the struggles, and don’t grow weary in well doing. 

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.
At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Galatians 6:9

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A Week of Ideas to Teach about Love

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Here are some ideas to help you teach your children about showing love during this week of celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Creatively work together to display each day’s verse on the fridge. (cut, color, or paint a heart and put the verse on it)

Repeat the verse often during the day as you reinforce it as you go – here a little, there a little. (Deuteronomy 6:7), (Isaiah 28:10)

Read the Bible stories yourself and then tell them in your own words. Be animated and use visuals when possible.

Have fun establishing God’s Word in your children this week!!!!

Day One

Bible Verse: Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times.

Story: David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18 1-4)

Activity for Baby to 3: Have a friend over to play with child. Tell story of David and Jonathan. Share toys. For infant, spend time talking about and thanking God for all the baby’s friends, after reading story.

Older Activity: Have child help make cookies and then invite a friend over to share them with. Talk about ways to show love to our friends.

Day Two

Bible Verse: 1 John 4:7 – Love one another.

Story: Elisha’s Friends (2 Kings 4:8-11)

Activity for Baby to 3: Tell the story of Elisha and talk about how you prepared a room for baby to show your love for him. Point out things in baby’s room.

Older Activity: Read story. Draw a picture of the story.

Day Three

Bible Verse: Galatians 5:13 – Help one another
Story: Four Friends (Mark 2:1-12)

Activity for Baby to 3: Make Valentines for friends and pray for for their friends as you do.

Older Activity: Same as for Baby to 3

Day Four

Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 1:24 – We are helpers.

Story: We Work Together – (Nehemiah 1:1-11, 2:1-20, 3:1-32, 6:15-16)

Activity for Baby to 3: Help fold laundry or pick up toys.

Older Activity: Play blocks together and pretend to build the wall as you tell the story. Dads, let child hammer some nails in some scrap wood while you supervise.

Day Five

Bible Verse: Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another.

Story: Philip’s New Friend – (Acts 8:1-39)

Activity for Baby to 3: Do something special for baby or child like making him cookies or getting him a new inexpensive toy. Give him a hug and lead child to give someone a hug. Talk about ways he can show kindness.

Older Activity: Read story. Say Philip showed kindness by reading the Bible to his friend and telling him about God. Let’s be kind to our friends and tell them about God. Lead child to send a Bible verse or Bible story to one of his friends.

Learn From Mothers in the Bible and in History

Sarah, Hannah, and Mary are 3 mothers in Scripture that have much to teach us about being a Godly mother.  Check out my husband’s awesome sermon series “How I Met Your Mother” and learn about these special moms.  http://dudleybaptist.org/resources/sermons/

No study of great moms in history would be complete without looking at the life of Susanna Wesley.  Susanna Wesley had 15 children and spent an hour a week with each child individually, helping he or she to be totally submitted to God.

When she was asked about her method of preparing her children for spiritual maturity she replied (I think this is my favorite piece of advice for mothering):

“No one can, without renouncing the world, in the most literal sense, observe my method; and there are few, if any, that would entirely devote above twenty years of the prime of life in hopes to save the souls of their children, which they think may be saved without so much ado; for that was my principal intention, however unskillfully and unsuccessfully managed.” 

Here are some of her methods:

16 Rules of Susanna Wesley

1. Eating between meals not allowed. (3 meals a day – no snacks)

2. As children they are to be in bed by 8 p.m. (starting with the youngest)

3. They are required to take medicine without complaining. (although they did throw up)

4. Subdue self-will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child’s soul. (main point)

5. To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak. (Lord’s Prayer twice daily – then others)

6. Require all to be still during Family Worship.

7. Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely. (No crying – odious sound – strictly enforced)

8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of. (one child trouble, rest readily honest)

9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished. (willful disobedience or wrongdoing)

10. Teach children to fear the rod. (spanked them early – not necessary later)

11. Never punish a child twice for a single offense. (once dealt with never mentioned again)

12. Comment and reward good behavior. (this freely and positively done)

13. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended. (good job – great try)

14. Preserve property rights, even in the smallest matters. (even to a pin, give something away not yours)

15. Strictly observe all promises. (Hers and others)

16. Require no daughter to work before she can read well. (taught Latin, Greek, all subjects – then duties.
               EDUCATION 6 hours a day 5 years old and up) 

Read more about Susanna in the book, Susanna: Mother of the Wesleys

Brothers!!!!

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“He’s adorable – you call him adorable”  These were their first words when Grant and Hudson finally saw their little brother, Ethan Scott, for the first time yesterday.  They may not feel that way about him everyday, but there will always be a deep brotherly love that will be there to help in time of need.

. . . a brother is born to help in time of need.
Proverbs 17:17 

Check out these posts for ways to help promote love and acceptance when a little brother or sister comes to your house:

http://www.trainupthechild.org/2010/09/30/when-a-new-baby-comes-to-your-house/

http://www.trainupthechild.org/2010/10/05/a-brother-is-born-to-help-in-time-of-need/

http://www.trainupthechild.org/2010/10/07/more-of-a-brother-is-born-to-help-in-time-of-need/

Train Up The Child From the Womb to the Tomb

I apologize for this long post but it is a chapter from How Shall We Order the Child.  It talks about beginning in the womb to train up the child.  Judges 13 is the account of Samson’s parents’ inquiry as to how to order their child when given the news they were to become parents.  The information was very helpful to me as I was pregnant with each of our 4 children and it is prevalent in my mind and heart right now as we are expecting our 4th grandchild in January!!  Here’s a picture :-)

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Set Apart From the Womb

Judges 13:7, 12-14

“But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son;and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing:for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.”

“And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass.  How shall we order the child,and how shall we do unto him?  And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah,of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine,neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that command her let her observe.”

Manoah wanted God’s will concerning his child so he enquired of God as to how to order the child.  Possibly this father-to-be was looking for instructions on how to care for the child or how to disciple him after he was born which is usually what concerns an expectant parent.  But God’s plan was to begin right then and the child was not even conceived yet.  God wanted the child to be a Nazarite from the womb which meant he wanted Samson set apart for him from the beginning.  The instructions given concerned what went into the mother’s body.  This referred to not only physical food and drink but also spiritual nourishment for we are not just physical beings.

I Corinthians 6:20 says that we have a spirit and body. What a mother to be eats during pregnancy feeds the child physically.  It is necessary for the baby’s normal, healthy physical development.  In the same way, what the mother takes into her spirit feeds the baby’s spirit.  Andrew Murray, in his book, How to Raise Your Children for Christ, points out “in that holy time of mystery, when mother and child are still one, and influences from a mother’s spirit pass into the child, God says that the mother is to obey all that He commands.”(Judges 13:14)  God wants the mother obeying His Word and thus feeding the child’s spirit with scripture.

A majority of children are conceived and brought into the world and never have their spirit nourished and developed.  If the child’s spirit is not nourished, he has no desire for God because it is pointed out all through the Bible that God deals with man’s spirit.

John 4:24 “God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

 Romans 8:16 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

God wants the spirit of man to be predominate but the world spends time making mighty bodies instead of mighty spirits.  Paul prays Ephesians 3:16:”That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory,to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man:”

God did not want Samson’s mother to allow any unclean thing into her body.  It is important to abstain from any harmful or unclean thing during pregnancy such as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. which have been proven to harm the baby physically.  It is just as important to keep out unclean thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions which will harm the baby’s spirit.     The way to keep your attitudes, thoughts, and actions clean is by meditating on the Word of God.

Psalm 119: “The Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against You.”

Psalm 119:15 “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.”

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!

According to this verse, meditation on God will keep the mother free from worry and stress which has been proven to affect the baby.   Not only should the mother just meditate on God’s Word but time should be spent by both parents praying scripture into the baby’s life.

Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth.  It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please,  And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Send the word into the baby’s life through prayer.  Before our children were born, one of the prayers I prayed for them was from I Peter 3:4 for him to have a “meek and quiet spirit”.  At our firstborn’s first doctor visit the doctor remarked at what a quiet baby he was.  There is power in praying the Word!

Psychologists say there is no question that the unborn baby can hear.  His physical ears operate at least four months before he is born.  His spiritual ears operate from the very start.  The baby needs to hear the Word from the womb and be surrounded by the name of Jesus because of the importance of that name.

Philip. 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The father’s role is essential in the baby’ spiritual development.  Notice that Manoah was the one who inquired as to how to order the child, not his wife.  He recognized his responsibility for the child.  Notice how his words with the angel, “Let thy words come to pass” showed his surrender to God to have His will done.  The fact that he asked God how to raise the child showed his dependence on God.    Manoah was given the responsibility of seeing that the woman obeyed God’s Words thus making him the spiritual leader for his family, even for the child in the womb.

There are references all through the Bible of God’s dealings in the womb.  Psalm 139:13-16 describes God’s prenatal care in forming our bodies:

Psalm 139:13-16 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.   Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Isaiah 49:1:”The Lord has called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.”

Psalm 71:6   By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.

Jeremiah 1:5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.”

The forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb according to Luke 1:15:”For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”

Throughout scripture those who were great men of God began as such in the womb. However, scripture points that wickedness begins in the womb also.

Psalm 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.”

Psalm 51:5 David said,”Behold, I was shaped in iniquity: and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

We are all born with a sinful nature which begins in the womb.  This nature has to be brought under God’s control.  God wants this begun before our children are born.

God had a special plan for Samson.  He was to be set apart for God’s service beginning in the womb.  God never changes.  He still wants children for Himself from their very beginning.  God’s will is that every person can say as David said in Psalm 22:10: “I was cast upon You from the womb.  You are my God from my mother’s womb.”

 

Suggested Prenatal Study:

It is interesting that there are 9 Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and there are 9 months of pregnancy.  Take one Fruit each month of pregnancy to study, pray, and meditate on.

Listed below are my notes from studying and meditating on the Fruit of the Spirit when I was pregnant.

1. Love – giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive any personal reward

John 17:26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

2. Joy – the exultation of my inward being that results from genuine harmony with God and others

John 17:13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

3. Peace – harmony with God, others, and self

Philip. 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

4. Longsuffering – patience, endurance, inward strength to withstand stress

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

5. Gentleness – expressing personal care appropriate to another’s emotional need

Titus 3:2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 

6. Goodness – righteousness, loving-kindness

Romans 11:22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

7. Faith – visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it

Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.

8. Meekness – controlled, humble, yielding my personal rights and expectations to God

1 Peter 3:4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

9. Temperance – self control, mastering one’s desires and passions, instant obedience to the initial promptings of God’s Spirit

1 Cor. 9:27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.